Hints & Tips for a successful MWC17 — Episode 3
Apologies for delaying the 3rd episode but things are becoming really busy as we are approaching MWC17 both for Greece@MWC and Cytech. So I continue the story from where I left it at the previous episode. We were talking about efficiency and how a company can better take advantage of its presence to this huge event. We, at Cytech, were sure that there is no point having a very small stand and that it is not efficient enough to be part to bigger pavilion just by standing in front of your booth. At least for Cytech. So what’s the solution?
In 2015 we start experimenting with a different kind of participation. We decided to forget the booth at the Greek pavilion but instead we invested our money in taking more people with us and getting better prepared before the event. So four of us landed in Barcelona having at least 15 meetings each already booked and a well organised agenda. We also took advantage of the facilities the Greek pavilion offered to us, especially the meeting room. We pre-booked about 10 slots per day and we also schedule meetings to other pavilions.
The result was that we did more than 40 meetings with people we had mutual business interests and we left Barcelona with really fewer business card in our pockets but with the feeling that we spent our money and time really well.
As I mentioned above, we invested many days in searching and inviting people to meet. We also used all the different tools like myMWC, LinkedIn, Twitter etc in order to find the right people from the companies we wanted to start a partnership. We also worked hard on our elevator pitch, presentations and our English.
Another thing that we learnt from this process is that MWC is a good place to meet partners, customers and friends from all over the world.
MWC is something like a rendezvous where technology related business people meet and renew their partnerships or make new ones or at least have a face-to-face meeting.
That’s why we spent effort on inviting existing partners to come and meet us there. Some times we try to make it easier for them, providing a visitor’s pass or helping them find a good place to stay etc.
The bottom line is that, for Cytech, it was so much more efficient to invest its money and time in communication, preparation and meetings rather than having a booth with a big screen and its logo on it. The whole investment was about the same but the outcome was so much more bigger.
All the years onward, as well as this year, Cytech will be there with its team’s schedule full of meetings roaming the halls of MWC one more year.
I close this 6 years retrospection to our participation at MWC and I return to the tips I started to describe at the first episode. I mentioned myMWC and other networking tools like LinkedIn. I want to insist a bit on this. The first thing a company should do as soon as it decides to participate at MWC is to fill its profile at the exhibitors catalogue of the event. This is the least one company should do so it has a basic exposure and can be found by others who follow more or less what I described above. This way it is visible to the online exhibitors catalogue as well as the printed one. The next step is to register its team so they get an exhibitor’s pass. This is prerequisite in order to start using myMWC app which it the official networking tool. This is where you can find people and companies and arrange business meetings as well as organise your schedule especially if you want to visit a number of stands around the venue or if you want to participate in the conference section of the congress.
MyMWC used to be a pretty buggy app but year by year it becomes better and more valuable. It is a web app as well as a mobile one. So you can use it while walking in the venue communicating with people you already have meeting or get information about conference sessions and stands locations. Unnecessary to say that it is very important to upload your personal profile and describe your interests and position in a way so you can attract the right people to meet with you. At the same time it is valuable tool for searching for meetings and get prepared because it will take you many hours during your preparation. It is not something you do once because more people upload their profiles as we approach MWC and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to pre-arrange a meeting with some of them.
But don’t wait to get replies from everyone you contact, it needs persistence and you have to be inventive.
You can find a name at myMWC and look for it at LinkedIn, connect and ask for a meeting. This year, it is the first time, that GSMA partners with LinkedIn and offers a free 3–months trial for the premium program. This might be useful in order to see who is looking at your profile or send inmail messages.
Finally, you should offer alternatives for the place you meet and this is a very good reason to be part of a bigger pavilion like we did with the Greek Pavilion. Most of the times it gives you access to its facilities, especially the meeting room and the reception desk. It’s also important to be prepared in case your meeting doesn’t come on time. You should be ready to offer an alternative and have a way to contact them. It is very common someone to come late either because their previous meeting took more time than expected or because they had to walk from Hall 2 to Hall 8.1 for example. Have at least 10 minutes between meetings to cover this delay or to keep some notes from the one you just had.
As a closure I would like to insist on how important networking is at this event.
MWC is the ideal event for meeting people coming from many different countries around the world, especially from Europe, USA and SE Asia.
Don’t miss the opportunity because you are not well prepared.
See you at the forth episode of this series of articles with more hints and tips.